Shakermaker

But when you’re happy and you’re feeling fine
Then you’ll know it’s the right time

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GAME OF THE WEEK

Brocton 1 Heather St Johns 3

Total Motion Midland Football League Division One

Attendance: 56

Gate: £5

Programme: £1

Third time lucky. As we pulled out of the back exit of Hilton Park southbound services, illegally I might add, we were making our way to Brocton. Ninety minutes earlier when we had left Manchester the destination had been Walsall Wood. We were not even on the M56/M6 spur bypass thingymajig when news came through the twitter web that the weather had won and a change of plan was required.

Alty were at Stourbridge, I knew it was on as I had seen the hosts tweet something earlier that morning, no problem, Stourbridge v Altrincham it was. After a quick toilet stop for the boy Wilks at Keele, I checked my phone, suddenly Stourbridge was in doubt. They were going to wait for the match referee to make a decision, 1:15, so we pulled into Hilton Park to await the decision. The decision was put back another 30 minutes. Not for us, new plan required.

Wilksy wanted to visit the home of the Badgers, so we headed off to Brocton, breaking laws, dodging traffic and ridiculous potholes on the M6, we made it Silkmore Lane in plenty of time.

Brocton’s home is just off Silkmore Lane and has it’s own driveway, very nice folks. At the entrance you are met by a number of pleasant gentlemen who take your pennies and point you in the direction of where you are to park. Two stands, one seated the other for the standers greet you as you come through the gates, the rest of the ground is open standing. In the North East corner of the ground is the clubhouse, compromising of changing rooms, toilets, hospitality, tea room and bar. A friendly welcome awaits.

There was little sign on the Silkmore Lane pitch of the poor weather that was decimating the fixture lists up and down the country, credit to the groundspeople and volunteers who manage the ground.

Header. It took a little while for the game to get going, both sides threatening until the final ball, that was until the 20th minute when The Saints took the lead. Neat build up in midfield led to a ball out wide to Cobourne, the winger, who gave the Brocton defenders a dizzy afternoon, put in a superb cross to the back post where Yonwin had lost his marker and met the ball to head past McCarthy.

Heather St. Johns controlled pretty much the rest of the game. Brocton tried and had moments, but that was pretty much all they had until late on. The Saints had chances to increase their lead before the interval, Cobourne, Yonwin, Doyle and the skipper Weale all created and went close, the defence and McCarthy managing to keep the visitors at bay until the break.

H-T. Brocton 0 Heather St Johns 1

Following a 15 minute lie-down the team emerged into the freezing afternoon and things started to get a bit feisty, challenges were flying in, the heat was being turned up on the pitch a little. The Saints were denied a blatant penalty as Douglas flattened Cobourne in the area, quite how the officials missed it I do not know, looked nailed on.

Off. As they game flowed from one end to the other and tackles flew in, the odd yellow was being produced, with 15 minutes or so remaining I witnessed my 100th red card, Burns shown a second yellow for a poor challenge on Weale. The referee had no other option.

Bundled. A comeback had looked a task too far for Brocton before they were reduced to 10 men, it became even harder 5 minutes later, Cobourne was once again the architect. Played in on the right hand side his shot across the face of the goal was saved by McCarthy and the bobbling rebound was bundled into the back of the net and just beyond the keepers grasp by Bloore.

Emphatic. In the last minute or two the visitors went 3-0 up, a break on the right hand wing saw a cross played into Weale, he deftly flicked the ball on for Cobourne who was arriving at pace at the far post and he finished emphatically past McCarthy, the rout was complete, surely that was that.

Pounced. Added on time saw two incidents, both at the Heather St Johns end of the field, first of all the Badgers got a goal back, a corner was pounced upon at the far post by Phillips and turned in. Then moments later the hosts broke and a through ball led to a chase between a home sub and Allsop in the away goal, was won by the Badger forward, he dinked it over the keeper, only for the Saints number one to save it with his hands outside the area. It should have been a red card, the visitors stopper can count himself lucky.

F-T. Not that it would have mattered too much as the final whistle went soon after. Brocton 1 Heather St Johns 3. A pretty fair reflection of the afternoon. Myself and Wilks were off into the Staffordshire night, with just one definite destination, and a good day had been had by all. I just now need to make plans to visit Walsall Wood and Stourbridge in the future.

ADDED ON

A bit like the week before at Halifax, the midweek was spent watching an FA Trophy game. This time it was a replay and a round further on, and, like the weekend to follow it was not first choice of the day. Weather again decimating the fixture list and leave us needing an alternative to our first choice of Prestwich Heys v St Helens Town.

Off to Edgeley Park for Stockport County v Kidderminster Harriers. Had to be an away win, this was my 4th visit to County’s home, 2 draws and a defeat had been my previous three results for the hosts.

On an awful night I am not too sure the hosts wanted to play this. Could not find a programme for love nor money and the tea bar only opened 5 minutes or so before kick-off. In a pretty even game, the hosts booked their place in the next round. Both sides had chances to take the lead before County managed it in the 25th minute as Turner rifled home from an acute angle.

After the break the snow began to fall, Kidderminster poured forward in search of an equaliser, unfortunately, most of their efforts were limited to around the edge of the box and they had left their shooting boots back in the Midlands.

With 15 minutes remaining County doubled their advantage, McKenna finally getting his shot away, a deflection taking it past Hall in the Harriers goal, 2-0 to Stocky. This was added to in the last minute Pearson brought down Stephenson and Dixon slotted home the resulting spot-kick

GAMES

Tue: Stockport County 3 Kidderminster Harriers 0

Sat: Brocton 1 Heather St Johns 3

FACTS

Games: 459

Goals:  1571

Grounds: 217

Games since a 0-0: 72

Milestone: 100th Red Card (Ryan Burns, Brocton).

Performance of the Week: Has to be Simeon Cobourne the Heather St Johns winger, tormented this marker all afternoon, created 2 goals and scored the third. Take a bow son.

Random Fact: Heather St Johns are the fourth team I have seen with Saint in their name. The others Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds, Heywood St James and Beeston St Anthony’s being the others.

SOUNDTRACK

Definitely Maybe – Oasis

I Wish I Was James Bond

Don’t take this the wrong way, I know it might sound odd
I’m the next double-0, I’m the right man for the job

GAME OF THE WEEK

Lancaster City 1 Mildenhall Town 0

The Buildbase FA Trophy Third Round Qualifying

Attendance: 242

Gate: £8

Programme: £2

Sometimes you just end up at a game that you had no intention of attending. This FA Trophy cup-tie is a prime example of that.

Originally I had booked tickets for a Virgin Trains first class service to London during one of their sales. Then my much better half said we were going to go away for a cheap weekend somewhere. So for less than £100 we had return train tickets to Lancashire’s County City from Manchester and 2 nights in the local Travelodge. A quick check of fixtures and City were away. So a Saturday off.

George Cheetham made use of the London tickets, though he ended up picking a 0-0er, and I was ready for my break. The weekend before I noticed that the Dolly Blues were actually at home in the Trophy to Mildenhall Town. No, I am not going to go, a weekend off. As we pulled in to Lancaster Station, I was asked as to if there was a local match on so that some peace and an afternoon kip could be had, so I had to tell the truth didn’t I? A little before 2:30pm I set off for the Giant Axe.

It was January 2015 the last time I visited Lancaster’s home and in the nigh on three years the admission price has not gone up, good on you folks. Another memory from that visit was the delicious food served up by Dolly’s Diner. Here was something else that hadn’t changed.

City’s home can be seen from from the northern end of Lancaster Station, and anyone heading to the North of England or Scotland on the West Coast line would have to have their head buried in reading material not to notice the blues home.

Entering behind the goal to the south, this is a gem of a ground. There is open terracing at the South End, opposite is the covered Neil Marshall Legend Stand, a standing terrace named in honour of the club’s ex-skipper who passed away just over a year ago at the age of 31. To the west is the Main Stand, a covered seating area which has the clubhouse attached. Opposite this is the Railway Side with it’s brilliantly weird structure that is made up of the fans bar and sponsors lounge.

As the match started it was soon apparent that a fair few fans had made the 240 mile trip from Suffolk to support their team, and their team did them proud. An even contest that could have gone either way.

In the opening 45 minutes, in which clear cut chances were at a premium, two incidents stood out, one to each side. City had a header by defender Williams from a corner that smashed against the bar with Town’s keeper Roach rooted to the ground. At the opposite end a scuffed clearance by City’s stopper Powell looped straight up into the air and Hall’s Brown was presented with a half chance, surely he would have a go and hook the ball over his head towards the totally unguarded goal? No. The chance went and we finished the half 0-0.

Hot drink bought to keep the cold off the teams were soon back out and we got underway again.

In conditions not helping either keeper, both used a number of lives  and got away without being at fault for a goal, though quite how they managed it for 90 minutes was some feat. As the tie wore on both teams huffed and puffed as the weather played a massive part.

A sublime ball by the Dolly Blues’ Wills playing in Carney was wasted. A hooked effort by the hosts bounced to safety off the top of the bar. Then Town had their big chance, Brown in one on one with Powell and he put it wide. As I, and a number of other fans headed towards the exit we got the winner. As a long ball and flick on saw the ball in the danger area, the last bit of play to put Kilifin in the clear appeared from my angle to be played by a City arm, this didn’t put the substitute off and he finished brilliantly to start the celebrations. Town were not happy. But the goal stood. 1-0.

A few minutes later the final whistle went. I headed back off to my hotel. For the second Saturday on the trot a very late goal had kept my run of games since my last 0-0 going and I was back in the warmth before 17:30. Bonus.

ADDED ON

A late change of plan on Monday due to a postponement. Awful weather actually meant I arrived at Widnes FC before Carlisle City did, but we still started pretty much on time. The travelling nightmare certainly did not seem to do City any harm in the opening 45 minutes as they battered their hosts, went in for the break 1-0 up, but it could easily have been 5 or 6.

After the break it was the hosts that ran the game, though City hung on and on. That was until the 90th minute when Smart equalised. Heartbreak for Carlisle? it was only going to get worse as they then lost 3-1 on penalties. Harsh. Very harsh.

Wednesday, another game and more awful conditions. Though I am not sure which was worse, the weather or the temper of the game. Both were pretty foul. Cheadle Town beating Alsager Town 2-1. Both teams having a player shown red, Alsager’s walking off ever so calmly before slamming things around the changing room, much to the amusement of those of us in the main stand. Good to see iBreezeblock for the first time in a few weeks and a huge nod towards Mr Wilks for the lift and company.

I started my weekend in Wales. At Prestatyn Town. Though i am not sure if I will be welcome for much longer. This was my third visit. This was their third defeat in these games. Though things are improving slightly, at least they finished the game with 11 men this time.

Llandudno were on top early on and deservedly took the lead, but this was the cue for Town to come back into the ‘Seasiders Derby’. Chances were being created but going begging until early in the second half when the visitors extended their lead twice in the awful weather. Town got a late consolation which was the least they deserved, personally 3-1 was a very harsh scoreline, and they had a claim for a draw.

The day after the Lancaster City match as we wandered through the City Centre, we were treated to Scouting for Girls doing a small set as the city lights were turned on. All glamour here you know!

GAMES

Mon: Widnes 1 Carlisle City 1 (3-1 pens)

Wed: Cheadle Town 2 Alsager Town 1

Fri: Prestatyn Town 1 Llandudno 3

Sat: Lancaster City 1 Mildenhall Town 0

FACTS

Games: 444

Goals:  1507

Grounds: 209

Games since a 0-0: 57

Milestone: Cheadle Town’s opener, scored by Richard Wyatt, was my 1500th goal.

Random Fact: Monday’s penalty shoot-out was my 5th in 441 games. I can expect my next one in another 88 games or so.

SOUNDTRACK

Scouting for Girls – Scouting for Girls